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Why not...? - Superheroes and the Richard Mille RM 25-01

Why not...? Superheroes and the Richard Mille RM 25-01

If we collect watches and like cars or gadgets, it’s because there is a child in all of us. And that’s a good thing.

It’s also why we like superhero films with their impossible stunts and their immortal and unbeatable adventurers. When I lie down in an armchair in the best cinema in Orange County, The Lot in Newport Beach (yes, an armchair!) to watch the Avengers or Ant-Man, it’s like time travelling. I can forget about my worries, my work and even my diet. I can dream, disconnect from the real world and become something I will never be: a super-cool, super-fun or super-strong superhero. Anything could be happening outside the cinema, it doesn’t matter. I can fly, jump, fight and sometimes suffer, but I always win. And the baddies lose!

I guess all eras throughout history have had something akin to these superheroes. The songs of heroic deeds of the Middle Ages, legends and even some biblical characters. But the more the world moves forward, as crises get worse and the environment deteriorates, the more we need a means of escape. Superhero films are therefore more than just films with different levels of artistic merit. They are a form of anti-stress therapy that is much cheaper than a psychologist and probably more effective.

That’s why we like them. But just what is a superhero?

The superhero must meet some basic criteria: live in a hostile world, fight real baddies who are cruel and unkind (but who we love to hate), have super powers or at least super capabilities (jumping off a building without hurting themselves, fighting for hours on end without eating, never going to the toilet, mastering the martial arts and probably a lot more), be humorous even as the end of the world approaches and, above all, win at the end and never really die (except when he or she is resurrected thanks to the creativity of screenwriters).

The superhero is exaggeration on every level. But this exaggeration is so… exaggerated that it attracts our curiosity and captivates us. For a few brief moments, nothing is impossible, nothing prohibited. Freedom reigns!

Our saviour of humanity also has values (which are converted into tangible value at the box office). He or she is righteous, courageous, intrepid and creates empathy.

As a result, superheroes help to simplify our surroundings into two camps: good and evil. We are, of course, by definition in the good camp. Furthermore, whatever the country, the regime, the person, we always want to be on the good side. Many people have tried to bring the world together around common values. Cinema has actually done it!

The watch industry took some time to understand this. It preferred to sponsor sports stars, models, actors and events. Before understanding that it was better to look to people who had a genuine impact: heroes!

I am, of course, thinking of the father of all heroes, James Bond, who has done more than any athlete or model for the image of Rolex, Omega and Seiko. From this point on, the list of supermen and superwomen compatible with watches started to get longer. Sly with Panerai, lost in a tunnel in Manhattan, Arnie killing Predator and Ripley overwhelming Alien with a Seiko as his super-timepiece.

All these characters did of course choose their own watches. We cannot talk about product placement. I don’t want to spoil the magic.

Ironman and Doctor Strange, for example, are big fans of Jaeger-LeCoultre, even in “real” life. Jason Statham wears an IWC while he is chasing “The Meg”. The agents in Men in Black (I know, this was some time ago) both wore Hamiltons. And the jolly bunch of the Expendables hesitated between Panerai and Richard Mille… When Brad Pitt fought against the terrible zombies in World War Z, he chose a Terra Cielo Mare Orienteering. 

But when Lara Croft went looking for her father, and Wonder Woman won the war, they both did so without a watch… Was that an oversight or a case of machismo?

In short, heroes like watches that like them.

But among them there is one star who really does like watches. It’s Sly (Sylvester Stallone).

Without him, Panerai might not even exist. Not only did he wear their watches, he turned them into stars. Throughout his career he has lent his name and those of his characters to different watch brands. And I like to think that it’s because he genuinely liked them.

Rambo started out as a « human » before “super-heroing” himself. And then there were many more. Almost too many… But as he never dies, he came back, got back into the ring and into planes. He got his friends together for the Expendables and offered them Panerais (even though some of them wore a Bell & Ross BR01 while fighting the bad boys). But for the last instalment in the series, Sylvester alternated between Panerai and Richard Mille.

It looks like our star has a new ally!

Why Richard Mille?

Indestructible, improbable, impossible, exaggerated and interesting… These worlds all describe Rambo and his colleagues. But they could just as well be used to describe the watches created by Richard Mille.

Richard Mille watches are totally excessive pieces. They have a characteristic design, just like a Spiderman or Batman costume, they have exceptional powers (ultra-lightweight, transparent, well-equipped with gadgets that are more or less useful), they use extra-terrestrial metals and they are completely unaffordable. No brand better deserves to be on the wrist of X-Men from across the universe.

Richard Mille has made exaggeration his brand’s DNA.

You either love his watches or you don’t. Since he launched his first watch in 2001 (RM 001), Richard Mille has never stopped surprising and pushing the limits of modern watchmaking.

What is interesting about the brand is that it has no history. We know how much some brands are prisoners to their history, however prestigious it may or may not be. The trend of re-issuing vintage watches only makes things worse, to the point of stifling their ability to genuinely innovate.

A brand without a past is therefore not a hostage. It does not need to worry about losing an historical customer base, about breaking design conventions, upsetting the status quo, being a little off-beat or even of shocking people. Watch start-ups also have a different financing model. They need to surprise their shareholders more than reassure them.

All of this has allowed Richard Mille to dare and to provoke. And I’m not talking small measures either but the kind of leap that only a superhero can attempt… and succeed.

For all these reasons, the brand deserves our attention and respect. In a strictly policed and highly regulated world such as the watch industry, it’s good to see that some people enjoy pushing the boundaries.

This is what a genuine fictional person should be able to do!

The Richard Mille RM 25-01 : What, really, nooooooo?!

This time we can rightly wonder whether “they” have gone too far.

The RM 25-01 is nothing like anything we have seen before. It comes from another planet, or even another universe, where people aren’t normal. It really is THE watch for a superhero. The alliance between Richard Mille and Sylvester Stallone was bound to lead to something surprising. And our two friends didn’t disappoint.

Superheroes and the Richard Mille RM 25-01

© Richard Mille

So just what is this “Rambo Mille”?

First of all, it is the size of the Hulk. It is huge (51mm), almost unwearable, muscly and aggressive. Only its thickness counterbalances its size! Like Batman, it has an exo-skeleton in carbon, reinforced steel and titanium. The Richard Mille RM 25-01 also comes with different bezels, one of which can be used as a protective shield, just like Captain America’s.

Superheroes and the Richard Mille RM 25-01

The different bezels of the RM 25-01 © Richard Mille

But there are no superheroes without gadgets and in this respect the RM 25-01 doesn’t disappoint. You can use it to purify water (there is a purification tablet sealed in a titanium container), to find your way in the dark or find due north. I’ve even been told that it can tell the time! Incidentally, its dial is graduated for 24 hours rather than 12, because superheroes obviously already know whether it is night or day when they are jetting around outer space or under water (the Richard Mille RM 25-01 can dive to a depth of 100 metres).

Superheroes and the Richard Mille RM 25-01

© Richard Mille

Its movement is labelled “competition”, which I find a little understated. It is worthy of science fiction! It has a tourbillon and is lighter, less power-hungry, more solid and more reliable than any other movement. It is like the trailer for The Six Million Dollar Man! To round it off, the Richard Mille RM 25-01 is fitted with a camouflage strap. This is of course a nod to Mr Rambo, the glorious soldier turned rebel.

What does the devil’s advocate think?

Faced with such force, the devil might to better to avoid any confrontation. But he is going to try… just a little.

The price may be a – slight – obstacle. Let’s be clear: few of you reading this article will have the opportunity to buy this watch. First, there are only 20 available. Second, you need to pay a million (the currency is irrelevant, you can pick dollars, euros or Swiss francs). That’s a lot. But for Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne it’s peanuts (so that’s already two sold). The third is probably on Sly’s wrist and the fourth may already be on its way to Mr Schwarzenegger. I’ve also heard that Antman wanted a smaller model, Aquaman was disappointed that it isn’t water resistant to 10,000m. It’s also missing a Geiger counter and an altimeter, but those are just details.

Superheroes and the Richard Mille RM 25-01

© Richard Mille

The gigantic size may make wearing the Richard Mille 25-01 a little bit difficult. You need the right type of wrist and, more importantly, you can’t be shy about wearing it in public! This watch is crazy, and that’s why we like it!

So, how do you wear the Richard Mille RM 25-01?

No, I can see you coming. You don’t buy this watch to wear with your Halloween costume! An exceptional watch deserves an exceptional outfit.

The jacket needs to be bulletproof, so there is nothing better than the Donly Jacket by MC Armor. It can withstand bullets from 9mm pistols or the 357 Magnum! Underneath you need some softness, which you can find at Loro Piana with “The Gift of Kings” wool. I would go for a Manica Lunga polo shirt in orange or blue.

The trousers need to be jeans. But not just any old jeans. Since you have the means to buy a RM 25-01, go for some vintage Levi’s, if possible pre-1900. Some of them go for more than 60,000 US dollars!

Finally, the shoes. These need to be bespoke. You need something robust, so my preference would be for a pair of Berluti Brunico, that the shoemakers at the Parisian brand will create especially for you, according to your needs as an adventurer, but also according to your taste!

You’re ready – adventure awaits. Arm yourself with courage and go for it!

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